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Green Building News

Georgia Lawmakers OK Third-Party Solar Leasing

A measure that lifts some restrictions on third-party ownership of residential and business solar systems clears the legislature and heads to the governor's desk

Georgia appears ready to ease restrictions on third-party ownership of residential solar systems, clearing the way for homeowners to lease systems.

In Georgia, lawmakers have approved a bill that for the first time will allow homeowners and businesses to lease photovoltaic (PV) systems rather than forcing them to buy the systems outright, according to published reports.

The Solar Power Free-Market Financing Act is designed to lower financial barriers that prevent some homeowners from adding solar, the website UtilityDive reports.

The bill sailed through the Georgia House of Representatives without a single dissenting vote in February, and then unanimously passed the Senate last month. PVTech says Gov. Nathan Deal was expected to sign it, although it was not listed among signed legislation as of April 6.

The bill’s unimpeded movement forward appears due to a compromise between solar advocates and utilities that limits the size of residential systems to a capacity of 10 kilowatts. Businesses with solar panels would not be permitted to generate more than 125 percent of their total energy demand, UtilityDive said.

With that deal in place, the measure won the support of Georgia Power Co. and the state’s electric cooperatives. GBA reported on the Georgia initiative along with a similar effort in Florida in February.

One Comment

  1. Expert Member
    Dana Dorsett | | #1

    It's about time, eh?
    Georgia Power is a vertically integrated statewide monopoly that has mightily resisted competition, currying great favor with both politicians and regulators alike to keep their business model from eroding.

    Third party ownership of rooftop PV makes it very easy for competition from privately owned PV to expand rapidly (as it has in several other states), eliminating the year-on-year demand increases on which their business model is predicated. The speed at which this can happen has been accelerating, and at some point they will have to write-down some of their generating & transmission/distribution assets. Who pays for the stranded assets is likely to become a real brawl too, especially since their shiny new nukes are behind schedule, over budget, and may not even be needed when they are finished.

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